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The recent speedboat accident in Samui claimed the lives of four tourists. Tragically one of those victims, a British man called Jason, did not surface after the accident, leaving rescue teams and the authorities in a position where they had to ask for help to locate him. Help came from the Dive Academy, a prestigious SUCBA diving school on the island that runs under the carful watch of Paul Meredith.
In a recent Facebook post Paul said “We at The Dive Academy were asked to conduct a search and recovery operation for the final missing person. We asked our staff to help with the search and said we would fully understand if they didn’t feel comfortable with what we had to do but they all volunteered to help.”
Paul told the Samui Times “I got a call at around 10.30 on Saturday to ask if we could help the search. When we got to Nathon they said that we were the search team, not just helpers. Luckily enough 4 of us went with another two who volunteered through links to the Tourist Police. We left from the Lomprayah Pier on one of the Angthong Explorer boats. We were taken out by Capt Top who showed genuine compassion for Jason and desperately wanted us to find him, something that touched all of us.
On the first day we searched where another body had been found, sadly this search was unsuccessful. On Sunday, the second day, we met at 8am and entered the water just before nine. We searched for around 15-20 minutes before one of the guys found the body and then I literally swam into it. Jason had been down for 2 days and was completely trapped under a huge coral bommie on top of a rock at around 3m. I tried to push his head then his arm through the coral but the hole was about 1/4 the size of his head. We can’t work out how he got there. We had to break the coral then shift the big bommie and rock from on top of him. It took us about 15 minutes to break it enough to be able to shift it, we were of course concerned for the underwater environment, but under these circumstances we had little choice but to forge ahead, it took four of us at full strength to move it finally. It was about the size of a small dinner table but ball shaped. As soon as we moved the rock we were able to quickly recover the victim, who was incidentally located in the very area that a passenger on the boat had told us his brother saw the body in a sort of premonition. I did tell him after we found Jason to tell his brother he was right.
Paul went on to say on his Facebook post “We have achieved many things in the 11 years of The Dive Academy and have much to feel proud of and none more so than what we did today. Although not how they would have wanted it, we are glad we were able to find Jason and his family have somebody to mourn rather than he remained lost and we hope it helps a bit with the grieving. We know we have a great crew working with us and today they all did us and themselves proud.” A sentiment shared by the Samui community and those involved in the tragic accident.